Looking forward

I am so excited for this year and all the great concerts already scheduled. I am in the middle of a concert filled weekend with some amazing artists: Dusty Brough (Therianthrope), Rebecca Kleinmann, Julien Cantelm, Bruno Serrano, and my guruji, Abhiman Kaushal.  I am especially excited about the last one as I rarely have the chance to sit with my guruji on stage! Therianthrope is almost done with our album–which will be out by the end of February–and we have two tours booked with more on the way. I am starting to tour with Dave Stringer a bit more as well–our first adventure takes us to the Denver chant festival on February 16th with a kirtan flight school to follow. In addition, I am looking forward to making music with the amazing Sheela Bringi on bansuri, harmonium, and vocals on Dave’s upcoming tours. Be sure to check back and subscribe to my blog, I will update regularly while on tour!

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Updated Therianthrope Tour dates

therian mashup new web

 

  • 01.30.14 @ Lestat’s in San Diego CA.  8pm.
  • 02.02.14 @ Soho in Santa Barbara CA.  8pm.
  • 02.27.14 @ The Poppy in San Francisco CA.  8pm.
  • 03.02.14 @ Wisteria Ways in Berkeley CA.  8pm.
  • 03.04.14 @ UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz CA.  12pm.
  • 03.09.14 @ The Blue Whale in Los Angeles CA.  8pm.
  • 04.30.14 @ The Lost Leaf in Phoenix AZ.  8pm.
  • 05.10.14 @ Ed Hales Park in Redlands CA.  time TBA.

Ustad Chhamma Khan – Delhi Gharana

I just ran across across this gem today!  What beautiful, traditional, playing from the Delhi gharana.  Below is a small history of the Delhi gharana as well.

The following is an excerpt borrowed on the history of the Delhi Gharana from:  http://www.planetradiocity.com/musicopedia/music_decade.php?conid=2353

There was no author given, but it is from the musicopedia website.

“Evolution 
In Indian classical music, there are two primary conventions, the north Indian tradition of Hindustani, and the south Indian convention of Carnatic. In Hindustani music, a gharana is a system of social regulation associating musicians or dancers by ancestry and/or learning, and by abidance to a given musical form. Gharanas is present in the vocal & instrumental forms of music. The earliest gharana to found conventions for creativeness is also the most ancient of the tabla gharanas – the Delhi gharana. It was created by several families near the Delhi-Lucknow-Barreily strip. The other tabla gharanas comprise Ajrada, Benaras, Farrukhabad, Lucknow, and Punjab.Created around the early eighteenth century by Siddhar Khan, the performing style (baj) of this gharana is also called the bandh baj. During the 20th century, the most critical tabla player of the Delhi gharana was Gamay Khan (1883-1958). His son Inam Ali Khan (1924-90) was an influential tabla player of the later portion of the 20th century. His son, Ghulam Haider Khan is presently the ambassador of the gharana. Natthu Khan (1875-1940) is from another stream of the gharana and was one of the foremost tabla players of his time. He was also the father-in-law of Gamay Khan. Latif Ahmed Khan (1941-90) one of the most legendary tabla players of 20th century was a follower of both Gamay Khan and Inam Ali Khan. Shafaat Ahmed Khan the popular tabla accompanist of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan was the son and follower of Chamma Khan from another stream of the gharana. Pandit Chatur Lal was the follower of Haji Mohammad Khan. From the most outstanding initial advocates was Chhote Kale Khan who trained Gamay Khan, the leader of Ustad Inam Ali Khan, a predecessor of the legendary Ustad Latif Ahmed Khan who passed away in the early 1980s. A concurrent line is that of Chamma Khan and his popular son Shafaat Ahmed Khan (illustrious accompanist of sarodiya Amjad Ali Khan). Pandit Chatur Lal trained under Haji Mohammad Khan and Hafiz Miyan of Udaipur and soon after received ‘further tuition’ from Pandit Ravi Shankar. His baaj is taught by his nephew Shiv Narayan.

Trends write-up 
The Delhi gharana has lucidity of sonics that is a product of the first function of the tabla as an axially to vocal and instrumental music. This sharpness is attained by performing on the chati or kinar, and has given way to the baj being called the chati-ka-baj. The beat most commonly experienced is the barabar (basic) of the ad (portions and multiples of one-and-a half), while the objects are primarily kayada-rela, peshkar, and the mohra/ mukhda. The kayada range of the Delhi gharana is the paradigm for the kayada items of the other gharanas as well.

Major Artists 
Founder- Siddhar Khan. Other artists of this gharana include: Gamay Khan,Inam Ali Khan,Latif Ahmed Khan,Natthu Khan,Pandit Chaturlal,Shafat Ahmad Ali”

Bali tour

Here are some photos from my recent tour of Bali.  Needless to say it was one of the best tours I have ever been on.  Although the quality of the photos could be better–they were taken on my phone!–I still hope you enjoy.

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The first few are of the house I stayed at in Ubud where a beautiful statue of Saraswati was at the entrance.

Then, a series of photos at Klotok, the beach where I body surfed several times and managed to get great waves.  I was told the statue there is of the son of Hanuman who was accidently dropped in the ocean (by Hanuman) on the way back from Lanka.  But because he could never find his father–Hanuman, who meditated constantly in the forest–he was deemed to a life of strife, where he breathed fire like that of a dragon.  I am not sure if this is a Balinese interpretation of the Ramayana stories, or taken directly from its source in India (can anyone help with this one?).  Supposedly, when he left the ocean and searched for his father, his vehicle was a sea turtle.

A friend of mine, Meghan Hynson, who studies gamelan in Bali (as well as a UCLA PhD student) took me to the home of her gender wayang teacher in Mas, Bali.  His son (whose name I forgot!) is an amazing puppeteer, musician, and mask maker whose works have been shown all over the world.  The first picture is a carving of President Obama in a Balinese-style head decor, something that I didn’t catch right away (did you?).  One of the pictures is his humble work station with only a stump and chisels.  It amazed me that he created so much with so little!

And of course, I had to include two more pictures of my commute to the ocean on my trusty scooter.

I assisted Dave Stringer at the Vibrant Living Yoga teacher training sessions, and one student of sessions drew a picture of us while we played one afternoon.  I am not sure if she was bored by the music or moved to create something spontaneously.  Either way, I had to have an archive of it.

On the way back from the coast one afternoon I was stopped by a marching gamelan for a festival.  I took one picture of a kid dressed up in his costume and he grew so excited that he called over his friends and had me take another with all of them.

One morning during our stay, Dave and I played a kirtan at dawn for another yoga retreat in Ubud.  The setting was beautiful: sunrise at Lake Batur with a view of the volcano.

The next set of photos are of Hotel Anahata, where I stayed for the final stint in Ubud.  It was a gorgeous place on a canyon that had two waterfalls at the bottom.

I didn’t realize it, but the final photo is the only one of music!  We had a great recording session during our last week in Bali.  Pictured here is Dave Stringer on harmonium and Angelo Berardi on violin.

Kolkata (part one)

Hello all.

I haven’t posted for a while… Lately I have been studying lots of Hindi and practicing a ton in an attempt to take advantage of my last days here in India. I leave in 2 and a half weeks!

My trip to Kolkata (Calcutta) with Andy was a different kind of trip than most tourists experience, and one that we both had not anticipated. We knew that we were not going to see many tourist sites, but we did want to see at least a few things: maybe a museum, or the old colonial districts, or famous markets. In the end though, we didn’t see much of anything touristy at all.

On our first day we visited an NGO that Andy was connected to called “Kolkata Kids.” Its aim is to provide health care, health workers, and medicine to newborns and their mothers in a particular slum in Howrah (a city across the major river that runs through Kolkata). Their office was located adjacent to the slum they were working with and despite being quite small, had computer stations and training facilities for new health workers. Andy and I arrived there at 9am after being picked up in a taxi by the founder—an American in his twenties whose name escapes me right now—where we were able to speak with him and other health workers before entering the slums.

His fundamental goals were simple: to increase the body weight of newborns—from the time they are in the womb to age three—to a suitable and acceptably healthy standard, which, consequently improves the health standard for all. To achieve this he hires health workers who monitor every family that is bearing children in a given area through weekly visits. Because population density in Kolkata is so high, there are definite constraints here on the amount of ground they can actually cover. But, what they do cover they do extremely thoroughly and successfully and is the reason they such a famous NGO. In addition to the health workers weekly visits where they monitor and educate families, they also provide sustainable and affordable insurance policies for the families they work with. They manage to operate on a grand total of 45,000 US dollars a year.

An opportunity to visit Kolkata slums and meet families face to face with health workers was not something I thought I would have the chance to experience. All of the families we met on our brief 3 hour routine visit with two health workers were Hindi speaking families from either Uttar Praesh or Bihar (in Kolkata Bangla is the official language). Although these families are migrant workers who are able to get some work in Kolkata during the majority of the year, they still visit their native villages during holidays and other important family events. For both me and Andy this was an unexpected occasion to practice Hindi.
Most of the conversations we had with the families were brief and consisted of small exchanges with the kids of the families who in return, were really most interested in the two white guys that were accompanying their weekly health workers’ visit.

‘Kolkata Kids’ is an example of a successful NGO that is building sustainable aid that can hopefully operate on a larger scale in the future. I had heard a lot about how NGOs don’t always do much good for the community they are working with because they don’t know how to implement permanent and sustainable change. Through focusing on a small area of the slums without being overambitious about its goals, ‘Kolkata Kids’ has built a reputation for itself in the world of NGOs as one of the most successful young NGOs in India. If anyone wants further information or is interested in how to help: contact them through their website: http://www.calcuttakids.org

-miles